If all objects and people in daily life were equipped with identifiers, computers could manage and inventory them. Besides using RFID, the tagging of things may be achieved through such technologies as near field communication, barcodes, QR codes and digital watermarking.
According to Gartner, Inc. (a technology research and advisory corporation), there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the Internet of Things by 2020. As per a recent survey and study done by Pew Research Internet Project, a large majority of the technology experts and engaged Internet users who responded—83 percent—agreed with the notion that the Internet/Cloud of Things, embedded and wearable computing will have widespread and beneficial effects by 2025
Privacy, autonomy and control
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed concern regarding the ability of IoT to erode people’s control over their own lives. The ACLU wrote that “There’s simply no way to forecast how these immense powers — disproportionately accumulating in the hands of corporations seeking financial advantage and governments craving ever more control — will be used. Chances are Big Data and the Internet of Things will make it harder for us to control our own lives, as we grow increasingly transparent to powerful corporations and government institutions that are becoming more opaque to us.”
Concerns have been raised that the Internet of Things is being developed rapidly without appropriate consideration of the profound security challenges involved and the regulatory changes that might be necessary. According to the BI (Business Insider) Intelligence Survey conducted in the last quarter of 2014, 39% of the respondents said that security is the biggest concern in adopting Internet of Things technology.
In particular, as the Internet of Things spreads widely, cyber attacks are likely to become an increasingly physical (rather than simply virtual) threat. In a January 2014 article in Forbes, cybersecurity columnist Joseph Steinberg listed many Internet-connected appliances that can already “spy on people in their own homes” including televisions, kitchen appliances, cameras, and thermostats.
Computer-controlled devices in automobiles such as brakes, engine, locks, hood and truck releases, horn, heat, and dashboard have been shown to be vulnerable to attackers who have access to the onboard network. In some cases, vehicle computer systems are internet-connected, allowing them to be exploited remotely.
A concern regarding IoT technologies pertains to the environmental impacts of the manufacture, use, and eventual disposal of all these semiconductor-rich devices. Modern electronics are replete with a wide variety of heavy metals and rare-earth metals, as well as highly toxic synthetic chemicals. This makes them extremely difficult to properly recycle.
Electronic components are often simply incinerated or dumped in regular landfills, thereby polluting soil, groundwater, surface water, and air. Such contamination also translates into chronic human-health concerns. Furthermore, the environmental cost of mining the rare-earth metals that are integral to modern electronic components continues to grow. With production of electronic equipment growing globally yet little of the metals (from end-of-life equipment) being recovered for reuse, the environmental impacts can be expected to increase.
Also, because the concept of IoT entails adding electronics to mundane devices (for example, simple light switches), and because the major driver for replacement of electronic components is often technological obsolescence rather than actual failure to function, it is reasonable to expect that items that previously were kept in service for many decades would see an accelerated replacement cycle, if they were part of the IoT.
For example, a traditional house built with 30 light switches and 30 electrical outlets might stand for 50 years, with all those components still being original at the end of that period. But a modern house built with the same number of switches and outlets set up for IoT might see each switch and outlet replaced at five-year intervals, in order to keep up-to-date with technological changes. This translates into a ten-fold increase in waste requiring disposal.
And More – Mick Raven